22 businesses ‘invest in diversity’ as part of initial programme roll-out

Pictured at the awards event in Waterford were Caroline Tyler, Managing Director, Irish Centre for Diversity; Louise Barry, HR Manager, PREM Hospitality; Tommie Ryan, Network Manager, Waterford Chamber Skillnet; Helen O’Neill, HR Specialist and Siobhan Mellamphy, HR Manager at Magna International; Ashling Ward, Network Manager, Carlow Kilkenny Chamber Skillnet. (Photo: Patrick Browne)

A newly launched Skillnet initiative aims to address the diversity and inclusion skills gap among senior managers, with a programme designed to equip senior managers with the knowledge and skills required to create more inclusive and diverse workplaces.

Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Cork Chamber Skillnet and Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet, with support from Skillnet Ireland, celebrated the first cohort of companies to complete a new programme developed in association with the Irish Centre for Diversity (ICD). 

The newly developed programme enables businesses to evaluate, develop, and measure their organisations’ efforts in diversity and inclusion using the ICD Investors in Diversity framework. The programme upskills senior managers within SMEs and assists them in creating policies and procedures that prioritise diversity and inclusion as a fundamental company value. It also helps businesses to develop and implement suitable policies to meet the programme’s standards, with the goal of achieving a Diversity & Inclusion Bronze Award. 

Research has shown that for Diversity & Inclusion to become an integral part of an organization’s culture, there must be buy-in at the executive level. The challenge was to create a system that would provide SMEs with the necessary tools, techniques, and training to assess themselves in terms of workplace fairness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion, and engagement.

This programme was designed by the three Skillnet Business Networks in collaboration with industry across the South-East and South-West regions. It follows research conducted by the Skillnet Networks which identified a skills and knowledge gap within SMEs in managing diversity and inclusion within their workforce.